Post by paulfromcamden on Aug 1, 2007 14:30:57 GMT -5
I dragged my 20 year old no-name superstrat out of the loft last week with the intention of finally spending some time and actually learning to play more than the one power cord that got me through high school.
The pots were crackly and I sometimes had to wobble them for a bit to get any sound out at all. Figuring this could just be 15 years of accumulated dust I took the back off to see how easy it would be to give them a squirt of switch cleaner.
The wiring inside is pretty messy and I'm fairly certain the previous owner made a few alterations (unless they factory fit blu-tac...) so I had second thoughts.
I picked it up again today and after a couple of crackles the whole thing seems to be dead. Switching each pickup on or off makes no difference. I can't see anything obviously loose but it *is* a bit of a mess.
Can anyone suggest how I should start troubleshooting this? I had a very quick look at some schematics but none seemed to match my setup.
The first thing I would do is open it back up and see if any connections came undone. If it did have some homebrewed mods, poor solder connections are prone to easy breakage. Otherwise, it could be that when you put it all back together, a bare wire leading to ground came in to contact with a bare wire leading from hot, which will short the entire circuit in many cases leading to no sound at all. If you're feeling adventurous, you might want to get a soldering iron, some solder and a desoldering braid, unsolder it all then solder it back up a little neater ... I mean, that's the fun part anyway, right? Well, other than butchering your favorite Jimi licks
True. I was thinking though that since he stated much of the wiring seemed to be home made, it was an unknown. It would also give him a chance to replace scratchy pots. Following one of the excellent wiring diagrams posted here might or might not be too overwhelming depending on him ... but you have a point.
Paul, does it have a 5 way switch? Are all the poles (places that wires are soldered to) in line, or are there 4 on each side? Are there pots for one volume and 2 tones, or just one tone?
The most important thing is to make sure all of the solder joints are secure and have a nice shiny solder on them. If they look dull they could be bad.
If you can't figure out the problem, and are feeling bold enough to start over, there is some great information and diagrams on this site .
Hope this helps, let us know if you need anything else.
Post by paulfromcamden on Aug 2, 2007 15:14:12 GMT -5
Thanks for the suggestions guys.
I hooked it up again this evening and cranked the amp volume up. I was able to hear the pots scratching and could hear different amounts of earth hum depending on which pickups were selected. Then all of a sudden it burst into life, albeit very quietly. Fiddling with the wiring a bit briefly brought full volume then it dropped down again. Does this suggest anything in particular that could be the problem?
I'm guessing there's a dry joint somewhere and was hoping to trace it through with a multimeter but if it's intermittent I'm not sure how realistic this is. The joints aren't dull but they are a right mess!
I'm torn between going through each joint one by one and ripping it all out. Hmm.
Each pickup has it's own switch and there's a single tone pot. Don't understand the poles question - sorry! Two of the switches have three connectors and the one for the humbucker has six, three each side.
Just guessing, but it seems like you maybe have a shot volume pot, if all of the connections seem to be sturdy. Based on your swtiching description, you don't seem to have a standard blade switch. The other option would be to check your connections at the jack, and then beyond that, there may be a short in a wire somewhere. That's a lot, I know ... but look at it as a learning experiece, and if you rebuild the wiring, you might just get hooked on this hobby of building/modding guitar electronics. It's no more expensive than other hobbies, and at least it keeps you at home, unlike hunting, fishing, bowling, golfing etc ... Have fun and good luck!